CGHP Webinar

"CGHP and global health partnerships are vital, essential and fundamental to our (CUH’s) healthcare mission."

Dr Mike More

"The world is one family. The pandemic has taught us that we must overcome. Learning is bidirectional and commitment from both sides of the partnership makes it work."

Dr Thinn Thinn Hlaing

What would you have thought a year ago had someone told you that in 2020 children across the world would be out of school for 6 months, that wearing masks would be part of everyday lives and that health care systems worldwide would be stretched to their very limits? We are only just beginning to understand the impact of COVID19 on so many aspects of our lives.

International health partnership activities, coordinated and supported by Cambridge Global Health Partnerships, have been severely tested these past months but have strengthened and developed in ways we could not have foreseen. As we seek to learn and build back better, we hosted a Zoom webinar chaired by Dr Mike More (Chair, Cambridge University Hospitals) to explore the impact and experiences of global health partnerships during the pandemic. Panelists included two CGHP partnership co-leads; Dr Thinn Thinn Hlaing (Myanmar) and Dr James Whitehorn (Uganda), and Coordinator for the Nigerian Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu.

Questions With The Panel

Dues to time constraints, we were unable to answer all questions during the event. The panel have responded to questions posed by attendees. Please find both questions and responses below.

Included are responses from Dr Musa Sekikubo. Musa is a Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Kawempe National Referral Hospital, and partnership lead in Uganda for the Kampala-Cambridge Antimicrobial Stewardship and Infection Prevention Control Health Partnerships.

1.The world has become aware that accurate data is key in the pandemic. What measures are in place, in low income countries, to facilitate accurate data from rural clinics as well as hospital settings?

Dr Thinn Thinn Hlaing: This is challenging but Myanmar uses DHIS2 software system across the rural and district health centres to collect the information.

Dr Musa Sekikubo: The accuracy of information from rural health facilities remains difficult to ascertain but there are currently centralised diagnostic centres. Shipping of samples remains a challenge. Additionally, the outcomes from the different national treatment centres is not regularly shared neither are lessons updated by daily experiences.

2. What are the key factors driving the recent sharp rise in covid19 cases and mortality as seen in Uganda and Myanmar? Is it due to failure of preparedness or challenges an example of internationally agreed guidelines?

Dr Thinn Thinn Hlaing: The sharp rise in Myanmar is seen after an easing of internal travel restrictions and social entities. The second wave started in Rakhine state but it immediately spread to Yangon due to a commute between these two regions. The sharp rise in deaths is seen in patients with underlying conditions such as diabetes, CKD and CVD. It is still early to conclude that the increase in death cases is due to lack of preparation. The MoHS and Yangon region government has prepared for the second wave for many months with the resources they have. I am not sure if they will be able to prepare more than the current situation with the resources they have.

Dr Musa Sekikubo: There is glaring failure in preparedness – the number of severe cases outstrip the number of ventilators and Human Resources for health. This is copied with increased community and health facility spread. Implementation of internationally agreed guidelines like sanitisation, PPE use and hand-washing facilities are woefully inadequate to cover health care workers who come in contact with patients.

The Panel

Dr Thinn Thinn Hlaing 

Consultant in Chemical Pathology, THET Myanmar Country Director, and CGHP Myanmar partnership lead for the Cambridge Yangon Trauma Intervention Partnership.


Dr James Whitehorn

Consultant Medical Microbiologist & Infectious Diseases Physician, CUH, and CGHP UK partnership lead for Kampala Cambridge Antimicrobial Stewardship and Infection Prevention Control partnership.



Dr Sani Aliyu

National Coordinator, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Nigeria, and Consultant in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at CUH.